by (one's) wits

(redirected from by their wits)

by (one's) wits

Through one's intellect and resourcefulness. When I lost everything, I had to live by my wits, and it made me a stronger, more savvy person.
See also: by, wit
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

by one's wits

see live by one's wits.
See also: by, wit
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Thenceforth, it was not uncommon to apply the expression to sharpers and swindlers who lived by their wits and other people's money.
The industry of Doyce, who himself confesses to a prejudice "against speculation" (Dickens [1857] 1985, 736), is a far cry from that of the speculators who, like Clennam himself and Pancks, pin all on dubious get-rich quick formulas in emulation of the Merdles of this world who attain the lifestyle and kudos of the idle rich through swindling and fraud, living by their wits like card-sharpers at "play-tables," as Gowan suspects Blandois/Rigaud of doing ([1857] 1985, 542); and if the wit of Merdle, Gowan and Blandois/Rigaud is Vesalius' ingenio in an utterly debased form, Doyce's ingenuity is one aspect of that same faculty transformed in the alembic of history into engineering inventiveness.